Who Left Trump's White House So Far? It's Been A Cast Of Characters
On Tuesday, March 7, the White House announced the resignation of Gary Cohn, President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser. The departure is reported to stem from a disagreement on a major economic policy — Trump's proposed tariffs — but beyond Cohn's singular case, there's a bigger picture. So many major Trump appoints have left the White House in the past 13 months that it takes some effort to remember: Who has left Trump's White House so far?
The list includes over a dozen former staff members.
UPDATE: On March 13 2018, President Trump announced via Twitter that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was also out, and would be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. In his tweet, Trump thanked Tillerson for his service, but later said that he had not discussed the change with Tillerson himself. In a statement about his departure, a spokesperson for Tillerson said, "The Secretary did not speak to the President and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve, and still believes strongly that public service is a noble calling."
EARLIER: Some of the staff members have left under quiet circumstances, departing with little damage to their reputations. Many, though, either resigned while at the center of controversies or were fired as part of a staff shake-up under Trump's chief of staff John Kelly.
The names include high profile political figures, like Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News who worked as a leader of Trump's presidential campaign.
Also on the list of departed staff members is Omarosa Manigault-Newman, a former contestant of The Apprentice, whose departure was arguably the most dramatic of them all.
Both Omarosa and Bannon are featured on this list of 17 former staff members, labeled in order from the first departure to the latest.
Michael Flynn — National Security Adviser
In February 2017, less than a month into the Trump administration, Flynn resigned after he became the center of controversy. The controversy revolved around his contact with Russian officials after former President Barack Obama's administration placed sanctions on the eastern European country.
In December, Flynn pleaded guilty for to lying to the FBI about those contacts.
Katie Walsh — Deputy Chief of Staff
At the end of March 2017, just days after Republicans in Congress saw an attempt to repeal Obamacare fail, the departure of Walsh was announced.
Politico reported that the departure was designed to allow Walsh to work with an outside, pro-Trump organization that would support the president's agenda in the media.
"It was abundantly clear we didn't have air cover," then-chief of staff Reince Priebus said in a statement at the time, according to The Washington Post. "No one can fix this problem better than Katie Walsh."
K.T. McFarland — Deputy National Security Adviser
In early April 2017, Bloomberg reported that McFarland had been asked to step down from her post as deputy NSA adviser. The departure came as a result of a new NSA, H.R. McMaster, working to shape the National Security staff to his liking after succeeding McFarland's old boss, Michael Flynn, Bloomberg reported.
Afterwards, McFarland had been nominated to become Trump's ambassador to Singapore, but her confirmation process stalled for months, until she withdrew her own nomination in February 2018.
Michael Dubke — Communications Director
On May 30, 2017, Axios reported that Dubke was resigning as a result of a shift in communications strategy at the White House, which was perpetually embroiled in controversy during the first few months of the Trump administration.
His role would eventually be filled, albeit very briefly, by the tenure of Anthony Scaramucci.
Sean Spicer — Press Secretary
After a tenure highlighted by high-profile gaffes — which Spicer would eventually he say he regrets — the former press secretary resigned following the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci.
Spicer was reported to have been against Scaramucci's hiring, which came as Spicer had been fulfilling many of the duties formerly performed by Dubke, whom Scaramucci replaced.
Spicer announced his resignation on the same day that Scaramuci was hired.
Reince Priebus — Chief of Staff
A former head of the Republican National Committee, Priebus was one of a number of Trump staff members who appeared likely to lose his job as result of a turbulent first few months for the president's administration.
Priebus' departure at the end of July was foreshadowed by a number of news reports. He was replaced by John Kelly, who has since become the catalyst for the departures of some of Trump's most controversial allies, including Scaramucci, Bannon, and Gorka.
Anthony Scaramucci — Communications Director
Anthony Scaramucci lasted just 10 days in his role as White House Communications Director, but those 10 days were eventful.
The days included Spicer's resignation, Priebus' resignation, memorable TV appearances, and an on-the-record interview in The New Yorker in which Scaramucci accused fellow White House colleague Steve Bannon of, figuratively, sucking his own... you know.
Scaramucci was fired on July 31, 2017, a decision sparked by the hiring of General John Kelly as Trump's new chief of staff. The firing came before Scaramucci's official start date.
Steve Bannon — White House Chief Strategist
Bannon's tenure at the White House began with helping write an executive order that enacted a travel ban against a group majority-Muslim countries. It ended amidst waning influence for Bannon, with The New York Times reporting his departure in August 2017 as a "victory" for White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Sebastian Gorka — White House Adviser
In August, The New York Times reported that Gorka was "forced out" of the White House as one of a number of personnel changes that were linked to the growing influence of Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly.
Since his departure, Gorka became a Fox News contributor and has remained in Washington D.C., where he apparently enjoys riding around in a Mustang that sports an "Art of War" license plate.
Tom Price — Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Tom Price's resignation in September came after a wave of stories from Politico, which reported that the HHS secretary had been using taxpayer dollars for travel on private jets.
Simply put, the reports resulted in a high level of scrutiny that prompted the former Congressman to step down. Price apologized in a Sept. 28 statement for the use of government jets, promising to pay the U.S. Treasury for the flights. "It is clear to me that in this case, I was not sensitive enough to my concern for the taxpayer. I know as well as anyone that the American people want to know that their hard-earned dollars are being spent wisely by government officials," he said.
Dina Powell — Deputy National Security Adviser
Powell worked as an adviser instrumental in helping shape President Trump's foreign policy in the Middle East.
Unlike other departures, the announcement of her plans to leave didn't come under dramatic circumstances and was expected as part of a wave of resignations by people who had been working at the White House for a year, The Washington Post reported.
Omarosa Manigault-Newman — Office of Public Liaison
In December 2017, The White House officially announced the departure of Manigault-Newman — or, more simply, Omarosa — as a resignation. However, the former Apprentice contestant was reported to have been fired in a dramatic episode worthy of a reality show.
Veteran White House reporter April Ryan tweeted that Omarosa had been fired and had tried to break into the White House residence afterwards.
The New York Post would later report similar details, that she was "dragged kicking and screaming" from the White House. Manigault-Newman told Good Morning America that she resigned and confirmed that she was escorted out of the White House after trying to enter the house. However, she said, "I like to hear all of these interesting tales, but I have to tell you, they’re 100 percent false."
Rick Dearborn — Deputy White House Chief of Staff
Dearborn had one of the more low-profile departures, with his coming shortly before Christmas. According to CNN, Dearborn left to pursue a role in the private sector and saw the success of overseeing the passage of Republican tax reform as moment to leave.
Brenda Fitzgerald — Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Like Secretary Price, Fitzgerald resigned amidst unflattering stories from Politico, which reported on Tuesday, Jan. 30, that Fitzgerald had been purchased shares of a tobacco company despite leading an agency that advocates against tobacco use.
A day later, Fitzgerald resigned due to "complex financial interests," according to a statement from the CDC.
Rob Porter — White House Staff Secretary
The report sparked a controversy prompting stories that implicated other White House officials, with reports that multiple staffers knew about allegations of abuse against Porter before the Daily Mail's report emerged. In the aftermath, the White House signaled a need to follow due process.
Josh Raffel — Deputy Communications Director
Raffel is a Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, but his history as a former Hollywood PR executive and a longtime ally of Jared Kushner made him valuable at the White House, where he excelled in communications, according to Ivanka Trump.
"Josh is honest, passionate and thoughtful. Whether it was offering strategic guidance on the communications for tax reform or a foreign trip, Josh's guidance was invaluable. The White House won’t be the same without him," Trump told Axios.
On Tuesday, Feb. 27, Axios reported that Raffel is leaving the White House at some point over the next two months.
Hope Hicks — White House Communications Director
Hicks, by far President Trump's longest-serving communication director, announced her resignation at the tail end of February. Her resignation came during the same month as the resignation of Porter, with whom she was reported to have had a romantic relationship. Neither of the two confirmed those reports.
However, The New York Times' Maggie Haberman reported that Hicks' departure thad nothing to do with the reported relationship, nor a recent hearing on Capitol Hill, during which Hicks admitted telling "white lies" for the president.
Hicks, Haberman reported, had been thinking about resigning for months.
Gary Cohn — Director of the National Economic Council
Before President Trump indicated that he'd follow through with plans tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum — which could result in higher beer prices, among other effects — Cohn warned that he might resign from his job, according to The New York Times.
That resignation came on Tuesday, March 6, just as news reports indicated Trump's intention to move forward with the tariffs. The president would react to the departure with complimentary words about Cohn, who was one of few Democrats working in the White House.
“Gary has been my chief economic adviser and did a superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again,” Trump said in a statement to The New York Times. “He is a rare talent, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people.”